High School Football

The champs are ... where? Realignment shakes up Kentucky high school football.

More from the series


2019 Kentucky high school football preview

The 2019 high school football season kicks off Friday, Aug. 23. New high school sports beat writer Jared Peck is rolling out several stories over the next two weeks in the Herald-Leader and on Kentucky.com previewing the season around the city, region and state and highlighting the top players and games. Click below to read all of his previous stories.

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Every now and then, changing high school enrollments dictate that the Kentucky High School Athletic Association must tweak its football class structure to try to maintain some semblance of competitive balance.

This year’s changes, which are in place for the 2019 through 2022 seasons, include a number of moves up and down among the six classes, including the shifting of three 2018 champions.

To start, Beechwood, who has won 14 Class A titles in all, including the last three in a row, moves up to Class 2A.

Last year’s Class 2A champion Christian Academy of Louisville moves up to 3A.

Last year’s Class 3A champion Central moves up to 4A.

Speaking of 4A, it still has defending champion Franklin-Simpson and has gained former 3A powers Lexington Catholic, Boyle County and Corbin. It also sees three teams who made the third round of the 5A playoffs drop down — Harlan County, Lincoln County and Anderson County.

Altogether that makes 21 Class 4A teams who made their former respective classes rounds of 16 in 2018.

Meanwhile, five-time Class 2A champion Newport Central Catholic moves down to Class A.

All the shifting doesn’t bother Lexington Catholic Coach Nigel Smith, who will keep longtime rival Boyle County as both a district and class foe.

“We’re fine. It’s one of those things where, we’re Lexington Catholic — we’ve got to play the best,” Smith said. “We don’t really care what class we’re in. We know that good teams are in front of us, and if you want to win state championships, you’ve got to beat good teams if you want to be one.”

There were district shakeups too, with Bryan Station moving out of a Lexington-centric district in Class 6A to one that includes Oldham County and Clark County. Station hasn’t faced Clark County since 2012 and Oldham County hasn’t appeared on its schedule for at least the last two decades.

“Things change every few years. If you get so caught up in that, then you’re always going to be a little upset or riled up,” Bryan Station Coach Frank Parks said. “They put it in place and we just go out and compete.”

Class 5A, home to defending champion South Warren and perennial contenders Highlands, Covington Catholic and Pulaski County, gets former 6A power Scott County and the newest 500-pound gorilla on the block, Frederick Douglass.

“That 5A deal is loaded there,” said Douglass Coach Brian Landis, whose Broncos team was ranked No. 1 in Class 6A for much of the season last year before getting knocked out of the playoffs by district rival Scott County. “The ‘team up north’ (Scott County) came down with us and, obviously, they do a great job. CovCath’s in there, Highlands — there are some really well-coached ball clubs in 5A, so it will be a really good challenge for us. I’m really excited for our kids to be in those type of ball games and that environment once the playoffs hits.”

For the next four years, Douglass and Scott County will have to deal with each other in district rounds one or two as well as in the regular season. Scott County’s enrollment was drawn down by the long-awaited opening of Great Crossing High School, which will also be a 5A program in its inaugural season.

Scott County Coach Jim McKee offered some perspective on his team’s switch.

“I’ve been here 22 years. Twenty-one of those seasons ended in us losing our last game of the year. Nine of those 21 seasons we lost to Trinity, St. X(avier) or Male in the semifinals or finals,” McKee said. “So, we don’t have to play Trinity, St. X or Male, I guess would be one positive. If we lose at the end of the year, at least it will be to somebody different.”

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High school football 2019

The 2019 high school football season kicks off Friday, Aug. 23. New high school sports beat writer Jared Peck will be rolling out several stories over the next two weeks in the Herald-Leader and on Kentucky.com previewing the season around the city, region and state and highlighting the top players and games.

New KHSAA alignment

For the 2019 through 2022 seasons, the alignment for football is as follows:

CLASS A

District 1: Caverna, Crittenden Co., Fulton Co., Russellville

District 2: Bethlehem, Campbellsville, Fort Knox, Louisville Holy Cross

District 3: Berea, Eminence, Frankfort, Kentucky Country Day

District 4: Bellevue, Dayton, Ludlow, Newport Central Catholic

District 5: Bishop Brossart, Bracken Co., Nicholas Co., Paris

District 6: Betsy Layne, Fairview, Paintsville, Raceland

District 7: Hazard, Jenkins, Phelps, Pikeville

District 8: Harlan, Lynn Camp, Pineville, Williamsburg

CLASS 2A

District 1: Ballard Memorial, Caldwell Co., Fort Campbell, Mayfield, Murray

District 2: Butler Co., Hancock Co., McLean Co., Owensboro Catholic, Todd Co. Central

District 3: Clinton Co., Edmonson Co., Green Co., Metcalfe Co., Monroe Co.

District 4: Danville, Lexington Christian, Somerset, Washington Co.

District 5: Carroll Co., Gallatin Co., Owen Co., Shawnee, Walton-Verona

District 6: Beechwood, Covington Holy Cross, Lloyd Memorial, Newport

District 7: Breathitt Co., Knott Co. Central, Leslie Co., Middlesboro, Morgan Co.

District 8: Bath Co., East Ridge, Martin Co., Prestonsburg, Shelby Valley, West Carter

CLASS 3A

District 1: Paducah Tilghman, Trigg Co., Union Co., Webster Co.

District 2: Adair Co., Casey Co., Glasgow, Hart Co., Taylor Co.

District 3: Bardstown, Elizabethtown, LaRue Co., Nelson Co., Thomas Nelson

District 4: Christian Academy-Louisville, DeSales, Henry Co., Mercer Co., Western Hills

District 5: Bell Co., Estill Co., Garrard Co., Jackson Co., McCreary Central, Rockcastle Co.

District 6: Fleming Co., Lewis Co., Mason Co., Pendleton Co., Powell Co.

District 7: Ashland Blazer, East Carter, Greenup Co., Russell

District 8: Belfry, Floyd Central, Lawrence Co., Magoffin Co., Pike Co.Central

CLASS 4A

District 1: Calloway Co., Hopkins Co. Central, Hopkinsville, Logan Co., Madisonville

District 2: Allen Co.-Scottsville, Franklin-Simpson, Russell Co., Warren Central, Warren East

District 3: John Hardin, Marion Co., Moore, Spencer Co., Valley

District 4: Central, Franklin Co., North Oldham, Shelby Co., Waggener

District 5: Anderson Co., Bourbon Co., Boyle Co., Lexington Catholic

District 6: Boyd Co., Harrison Co., Holmes, Rowan Co., Scott

District 7: Corbin, Knox Central, Lincoln Co., Wayne Co.

District 8: Clay Co., Harlan Co., Johnson Central, Letcher Co. Central, Perry Co. Central

CLASS 5A

District 1: Breckinridge Co., Graves Co., Grayson Co., Muhlenberg Co., Ohio Co., Owensboro

District 2: Bowling Green, Christian Co., Greenwood, South Warren

District 3: Bullitt Central, Doss, Fairdale, Iroquois, Western

District 4: Atherton, Jeffersontown, North Bullitt, Seneca, South Oldham

District 5: Boone Co., Conner, Cooper, Covington Catholic, Highlands

District 6: Frederick Douglass, Grant Co., Great Crossing, Montgomery Co., Scott Co.

District 7: Collins, East Jessamine, Madison Southern, West Jessamine, Woodford Co.

District 8: North Laurel, Pulaski Co., South Laurel, Southwestern, Whitley Co.

CLASS 6A

District 1 : Apollo, Daviess Co., Henderson Co., Marshall Co., McCracken Co.

District 2: Barren Co., Central Hardin, Meade Co., North Hardin

District 3: Butler, Manual, Pleasure Ridge Park, St. Xavier

District 4: Bullitt East, Fern Creek, Male, Southern

District 5: Ballard, Eastern, Trinity

District 6: Campbell Co., Dixie Heights, Ryle, Simon Kenton

District 7: Henry Clay, Lafayette, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Tates Creek

District 8: Bryan Station, Clark Co., Madison Central, Oldham Co

Not placed in alignment: Fulton City, Sayre

Jared Peck, the Herald-Leader’s Digital Sports Writer, covers high school athletics and has been with the company as a writer and editor for more than 19 years.
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